These verses from Matthew’s Gospel, known as the Beatitudes, are just about the best known and most loved of all the bits of the Bible – probably among the most loved words from all literature. Why is that? What do people love about them? Is it just a nice thought that God will lift up all the people who have been trodden down and overwhelmed by the cultural tide that is always going in the other direction? Do we think: it is OK that they are trodden down, because God will take care of them? Is that why people love these words? Or is it because, when we are trodden down, we can think about a day when God will make sure that we come out on top? When we are losing, the Beatitudes assure us that one day we will win. And that hope can sustain us so well that we don’t feel any need to fight for a better world now? Is that why people love the Beatitudes? Those are cynical questions, I know, and I don’t think most people love them for those reasons. It seems to me that we are captivated by them because they draw us into paradox. They strip away simplistic thinking by placing opposites together and telling us that it is the nature of God’s kingdom that those opposites are held together.